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Exclusive Look at Disney Magic Renovation Tonight on Destination America

posted on January 18th, 2014 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

I just got off the Disney Magic this morning after taking one of her first cruises from Port Canaveral since the ship’s massive transformation. I still cannot believe all of the incredible updates and enhanced experiences, and I had such a great time exploring and discovering what’s new and improved.
Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic at Sea

I’m fascinated by what it took to complete a makeover of that magnitude in such a short period of time, and I know many of you must be, too. So I wanted to make sure you all know about tonight’s premiere of “Disney Cruise Line: ReImagined Magic” on the Destination America channel. The show will give an exclusive look at the redesign and renovation process with behind-the-scenes footage from the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, and interviews with our Imagineers, cast and crew.

This hour-long special starts at 9 p.m. EST, so be sure to check your local listings for the specific channel number. After the show, let me know in the comments what you found most interesting about the Disney Magic’s transformation, one of the largest renovations ever performed in the cruise industry.

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A Mom’s Take: Cruising with Disney Cruise Line to Europe

posted on January 6th, 2014 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

This May, the Disney Magic is returning to Europe for yet another fantastic summer in the Mediterranean! In preparation for these voyages, I touched base with Marcy, one of the Disney Cruise Line specialists on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, to find out what questions she answers the most about our European cruises. With that information, we created a series of videos where Marcy answers your questions directly, giving destination overviews, Port Adventure recommendations and some great travel tips from her own experiences.

We’ll be sharing these videos at the start of each week over the next couple of months, and I’m sure you’ll find them helpful if you’re planning a European cruise with us, or even just thinking about one. First up, Marcy tells us about destinations in the Greek Isles, which you can experience on both 9- and 12-night voyages this summer. Check it out, and let us know what types of adventures your family would love to have with us in Greece.

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and Disney Cruise Line Facebook page, and follow @DisneyCruise on Twitter for more about Disney Cruise Line’s voyages in Europe. While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #DCLEurope.

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13 Disney Cruise Line Highlights of 2013

posted on December 30th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

I love the lists that start popping up at the end of each year sharing highlights of the past 12 months, don’t you? It got me thinking how Disney Cruise Line had yet another big year, so I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of our biggest moments in 2013.

I narrowed my list to 13 highlights, but I’d love to know what you’d add. Check it out and keep the list going in the comments!


Inaugural Miami Season
The Disney Wonder kicked off this year with our inaugural season from Miami, the newest US homeport for a Disney ship, marking our first time cruising from southern Florida. Voyages to the Bahamas and Caribbean from this iconic city will continue on the Disney Wonder or Disney Magic in 2014 and 2015.

New 2014 itineraries Unveiled
WIth the expansion of our fleet the past two years, this year we announced even more itinerary options, including voyages from Puerto Rico to the Southern Caribbean in 2014. We also unveiled Venice as a brand-new homeport and cruises that visit destinations in the Greek Isles and Sicily for the very first time.


First Calls on New European Ports
Our return to Europe this year was enhanced with exciting new destinations in the Mediterranean. During our summer season, we made first calls to Mykonos in the Greek Isles, Athens, Venice and Dubrovnik, Croatia. The Disney Magic’s call on Venice marked the ship’s first return to her birthplace since construction.

Captain Tom Named First Commodore
Captain Tom Forberg, our first and longest-serving captain, was named the first Commodore in the history of the company. With this honor, given to accomplished and distinguished leaders of military, commercial and cruise fleets, Commodore Tom now serves as the highest-ranking Disney captain.


Royal Court Royal Tea Introduced on the Disney Fantasy
We rolled out one of our newest family-friendly experiences, Royal Court Royal Tea, an exclusive event that gives Disney Fantasy cruisers the chance to interact with Disney princesses like never before. At this whimsical royal tea party, families are personally greeted by the princesses and entertained by lively hosts with stories, dancing and singing.

First Call on Jamaica
As part of our cruises from Galveston, Texas, this year, for the first time ever we called on Jamaica, home to beautiful beaches, lush green forests and mountain vistas. Stops at Falmouth, one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns, will continue in 2014 on 7-Night Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida.


Halloween on the High Seas Celebrated on the Disney Dream
Halloween festivities are always fun on our ships, but this year we took it to a whole new level on the Disney Dream. Our extra-spooky celebration, Halloween on the High Seas, treated cruisers to special experiences like Mickey’s Mouse-querade Party, A Nightmare Before Christmas—Sing and Scream, Haunted Stories of the Sea and much more.

Disney Magic Received Magical Transformation
Our flagship vessel got a massive makeover this fall, one of the largest transformations ever performed in the cruise industry. The majority of this project took place in dry dock at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, with work happening in shifts around the clock to bring to life a host of magical enhancements.


Re-imagined Disney Magic Set Sail
The re-imagined Disney Magic set sail from Miami with an extra dose of magic onboard, including brand-new spaces and experiences for kids, adults and families. Some of the highlights include the AquaDunk thrill slide, transformed Oceaneer Club and Lab, new fun just for adults, Carioca’s dining room and “Drawn to Magic” dinner show.

Kids Enter the Marvel Universe on a Disney Ship
The relaunch of the Disney Magic marked the first time the super hero icons of Marvel have been introduced on a Disney ship. Inside Marvel’s Avengers Academy, kids can be part of a multi-day training experience, which includes virtually putting on Iron Man’s suit and learning the “Avengers Assemble” call sign from Captain America himself.


Very Merrytime Cruises Brought Holiday Cheer Earlier Than Ever
More guests had the chance to celebrate the winter holidays onboard this year with our Very Merrytime Cruises kicking off in early November. All four ships were transformed with sparkling decor, families came together for special holiday events and Disney characters put on their best Christmas attire – for almost two full months!

Fans Award Disney Cruise Line with Prestigious Honors
We received several prestigious honors this year, thanks to our fans, including Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line in Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards for Families, making it the fifth consecutive year to be ranked in the number one spot. Plus, Condé Nast Traveler readers named all four of our ships among the top large cruise ships in the world, with the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder and Disney Dream highest on the list.


New Disney Friends Sailing
Several new Disney friends joined our fun this year, including our newest visitor, Princess Anna, who’s been visiting all four ships as a special holiday treat. Jack Skellington and Sally added to the spookiness of the Disney Dream’s festivities this Halloween, and Captain America is now sailing on the Disney Magic, making special appearances in Marvel’s Avengers Academy for the kids and around the ship for cruisers of all ages.

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A Day in Nassau, Bahamas with Disney Cruise Line

posted on December 12th, 2013 by Arnaldo Zanonato, Port Adventures Manager

Nassau, Bahamas is a port Disney Cruise Line has called on every year since our inaugural sailing in 1998. Just one visit here, a city of Old World colonial charm mixed with unique Caribbean style, makes it easy to see why this tropical destination is a guest favorite.

With the Disney Dream, Disney Wonder and Disney Magic all calling on Nassau in the early part of next year, more and more guests are inquiring about the best things to do during a day in this port. We offer dozens of great Port Adventures and narrowing them down to the best is difficult, but here’s a look at some of my favorite activities.


Dolphin Swim at Atlantis Resort
It’s likely you’ve heard about Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, home to world’s largest open-air marine habitat and tons of other unique family-friendly activities. We offer numerous tours that allow you to spend the day here, but some of the most popular are ones that include playtime with dolphins. You can choose between a shallow water interaction and a deep water swim, combined with another adventure like an afternoon at the Aquaventure water park or a stroll through the underwater tunnel to see sharks and barracudas.


Journey to Blue Lagoon Island
Dolphin and sea lion encounters are also offered at the picturesque Blue Lagoon Island, a secluded destination only accessible by boat, boasting pristine beaches and an all-natural ocean habitat. Another popular choice is to have a relaxing beach day here, soaking up the sun in a lounge chair, swimming in the clear waters, exploring the lagoon by kayak or water bike, or just laying back in a hammock under the shade of palm trees. Often a favorite part of the day for guests is the catamaran ride through turquoise waters to get to the island.


Exploration of Local Culture and History
For culture and history lovers, there are several Port Adventures that it make it more convenient for you to experience island life, with visits to quirky shops and the straw market, and to see remnants of the island’s British colonial past, like historic government buildings and old forts. One excursion combines a visit to the beautiful Ardastra Gardens with a city tour, and another Port Adventure includes two fort visits and an inside look at the National Cultural Festival of the Bahamas. Or those who want to plan their own itinerary around the island can book a private vehicle with a driver/guide for a day completely customized to your family’s tastes.


Royal Treatment at the Graycliff Hotel
Originally built as a mansion in 1740 by a famous pirate of the Caribbean, the Graycliff Hotel is now one of the must-visit historical landmarks in the Bahamas. We give Disney cruisers special opportunities to experience it uniquely and be treated like royalty at this five-star oasis. Families can relax poolside in an enchanted garden setting, adults can browse one of the largest private collections of fine and rare wines in the world and chocolate lovers can learn the art of chocolate making. No matter which Graycliff Port Adventure you choose, you’re sure to leave with a full stomach from either a gourmet, multi-course meal or your delicious hand-crafted chocolates.

If you’ve joined us at Nassau before, tell us, what’s your favorite adventure here?

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First Holiday at Sea for the Re-Imagined Disney Magic

posted on December 10th, 2013 by Brent Davies, Cruise Director, Disney Cruise Line

Happy Holidays from aboard the re-imagined Disney Magic! I’m Cruise Director Brent, writing to you from Disney Cruise Line’s flagship vessel as she experiences her first holiday at sea after her extensive transformation.


Anyone who knows me knows I have my dream job, with my love of the ocean, travel and entertainment. I’ve been with Disney Cruise Line since 1999, the year the Disney Wonder entered service, so I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the company’s significant growth and success the past 14 years. The launch of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy are two of my career highlights, and now I have another milestone to add to my list: the relaunch of the Disney Magic.

I embarked as Cruise Director during our last Mediterranean voyage and was lucky enough to be a part of the amazing team in Cadiz for the Disney Magic’s massive makeover. Then, last month, I witnessed a second makeover for our Very Merrytime Cruises. Of all the holiday decor, the extra sparkle in the atrium lobby is definitely my favorite. Take a look at some of what guests are enjoying in this elegantly redesigned space:

A beautifully lit tree spanning two decks…


A cheerful tree lighting ceremony with Disney friends…


The perfect background for princess gatherings…


And a larger-than-life (and delicious smelling) gingerbread house!


If you’re sailing on the Disney Magic this holiday season, be sure to share your photos on Twitter with @DisneyCruise and #DCLHolidays. Hope to see you onboard soon!

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Designed for Families on the Re-imagined Disney Magic

posted on November 15th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Today’s post concludes my virtual tour of the pixie-dusted Disney Magic. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing more about the ship’s transformation and getting a first look at some of the new spaces and activities waiting for you on your first re-imagined Disney Magic voyage.


As you’ve seen, we do a fantastic job at providing exclusive experiences for both kids and adults, but we also haven’t forgotten the importance of creating environments for families to have fun together. One of the best areas for family fun is D Lounge, a colorful and contemporary space where game shows, dances and activities are designed for all ages. Your family won’t leave D Lounge without having a huge laugh and a ton of fun!


In addition to fun of course, one of the most important aspects for traveling families is maintaining some of the comforts of home while being away. That’s why we took extra care when building our ships to ensure families can look to their stateroom as a comfortable home-away-from-home.

Not only are staterooms family-size, they are smartly designed to give your family more usable space. In our pixie dusting of the Disney Magic, we elevated the bed frames to provide storage space underneath. Now, you can slide your large suitcases under the bed and out of the way, giving your family more living space in the stateroom.

What’s more, most staterooms feature a “split bath-and-a-half” with a sink and tub/shower in one room and a sink and toilet in a separate room, a concept we introduced to the cruise industry. Brilliant, right?

So there you have it, the re-imagined Disney Magic! Now that you’ve seen it all, weigh in … what do you think is the coolest enhancement on the first ship of our fleet?

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and Disney Cruise Line Facebook page, and follow @DisneyCruise on Twitter for all of the exciting updates about the Disney Magic’s transformation! While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyMagic.

For more on the Re-Imagined Disney Magic, click the links below:

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New Indulgences at Senses Spa & Salon on the Re-imagined Disney Magic

posted on November 14th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Disney Magic – Senses Spa & Salon
One of the many spaces transformed on the Disney Magic is Senses Spa & Salon. Not only did this ocean-view haven receive a beautiful makeover, from a sleek new reception area to luxurious new treatment areas, the size of the spa was also expanded.
Disney Magic – Senses Spa & Salon

The additional space allows us to offer even more pampering treatments for adults, like teeth whitening in the new Smile Spa. Plus, we’re now giving teens the chance to relax, too, with the addition of the Chill Spa for cruisers 13 to 17 years of age.
New Indulgences at Senses Spa & Salon on the Re-imagined Disney Magic

In the salon, there are additional styling, manicure and pedicure stations with the latest equipment…
New Indulgences at Senses Spa & Salon on the Re-imagined Disney Magic

…and for the gents, a brand-new two-chair barbershop offers a variety of grooming services including haircuts and hot-lathered shaves.

I know where you can find me on my next Disney Magic sea day! How about you?

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and Disney Cruise Line Facebook page, and follow @DisneyCruise on Twitter for all of the exciting updates about the Disney Magic’s transformation! While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyMagic.

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Adult Exclusives on the Re-imagined Disney Magic

posted on November 13th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

Everyone knows there is plenty of fun for kids on a Disney cruise, but what about the grown-ups? We know you want to feel special, too, which is why every Disney ship has an assortment of areas created specially for our adult guests. On the re-imagined Disney Magic, Walt Disney Imagineers took great care in refreshing the adult-only spaces, starting with our popular Palo restaurant.

Palo received a makeover with stylish wood fixtures, glass artwork panels, new stone floors and decorative lighting. Red and white striped poles reminiscent of those found throughout the canals in Venice, Italy, are one of my favorite new design features. While the look of Palo is enhanced, you can be sure the delicious modern Italian cuisine and elegant dining experience has not changed.


After dinner, adults can step into After Hours, the secluded area on deck 3 forward that is reserved just for guests 18 and older at night. There are three unique venues here, so you’re sure to spend the evening suited to your own taste.

After Hours – Keys

If it’s a Manhattan cocktail and the soft sounds of a piano that you’re craving, walk on into Keys Piano Bar. The perfect setting to relax, this low-key and refined retreat offers handcrafted cocktails finished tableside and wine served in black-stemmed wine glasses for those wanting a more elegant evening.

After Hours – O’Gill’s Pub

For sports lovers, O’Gill’s Pub is the place to be. This traditional Irish pub and sports bar serves imported and domestic draft beers and liquors, and is equipped with video screens and an updated sound system for live televised athletic events. It’s also a great spot to pull out your favorite board game for a little friendly competition.

After Hours – Fathoms

And if you’re looking for a livelier scene to end your day, head on over to Fathoms, a night club that celebrates the sea by utilizing special effects, lighting and sound to create different atmospheres, ranging from calm to high-energy, throughout the night. Whether you pop on in to enjoy a performance by a singer or comedian in the early evening hours, or you come in with your dancing shoes later in the night, you’re sure to have a blast in this upbeat hot spot.

Now that you’ve seen some of the enhanced locales for both adults and children, the question is, who has more fun on the re-imagined Disney Magic – grown-ups or kids?

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and Disney Cruise Line Facebook page, and follow @DisneyCruise on Twitter for all of the exciting updates about the Disney Magic’s transformation! While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyMagic.

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New Dining Options Transport Disney Magic Cruisers Around the Globe

posted on November 8th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

As I showed you in my last post about the revamped Animator’s Palate on the Disney Magic, Disney has a special way of making even mealtimes memorable for families. Today, I want to tell you about two brand-new restaurants on our transformed ship, which both take cruisers on a culinary journey around the globe!


Let’s start with Carioca’s, one of my favorite new places to dine with its Latin America ties. Themed to the vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro, the energetic atmosphere in Carioca’s makes dining here fun, day or night. During the day, buffet meals feature a festival theme. At night, the atmosphere transforms into a more elegant dining locale with softly illuminated lanterns and a scenery scrim to conceal the buffet and kitchen areas. The restaurant is named after Donald Duck’s parrot pal from Brazil in “The Three Caballeros,” Jose Carioca, providing inspiration for Latin-themed fare with dishes like slow roasted pork belly, fried plantain and malanga pancakes and grilled rum-marinated swordfish.


For a more casual meal, Disney Magic cruisers can head to the Land Down Under (although this festive Australian-influenced restaurant is located up on deck nine). Cabanas offers food and beverage stations during daytime hours, with indoor and outdoor dining, and table-service at dinner. The Australian setting of the Disney•Pixar animated classic “Finding Nemo” inspires the décor, complete with uniquely Disney touches. You can find hints of the film’s fishy and feathered friends throughout the restaurant with a beach-themed dining room, colorful surfboards, beach umbrellas and teak Adirondack chairs.

Now that I’ve shown you the Disney Magic’s new spaces for kids, water fun and family meals, what do you want to see next?

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and Disney Cruise Line Facebook page, and follow @DisneyCruise on Twitter for all of the exciting updates about the Disney Magic’s transformation! While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyMagic

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Re-imagined Disney Magic Debuts New ‘Drawn to Magic’ Dinner Show

posted on November 6th, 2013 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

One of the things I love most about the re-imagined Disney Magic is that the transformation wasn’t just an aesthetic makeover. Walt Disney Imagineers worked hard to bring you a fresh look all around the ship, but they didn’t stop there. Disney is always looking to entertain your family in new and exciting ways, and that is exactly what we accomplished with the enhancements to the Disney Magic.


Take Animator’s Palate as an example. Featured on all four ships, it’s our signature Disney Cruise Line family dining room and no doubt a guest favorite. Knowing how much you love the look of the restaurant on the Disney Magic, we kept the same classic theme but enhanced it with all-new, animation-adorned walls, larger high-definition flat-screens and updated furnishings like custom-built Mickey Mouse chairs.

Animator’s Palate

But that’s not even the best part. On every Disney Magic cruise, you get to enjoy a completely re-imagined “Drawn to Magic” dinner animation show, which incorporates even more scenes from your favorite Disney films and a dramatic transformation from black and white to color.

Animator’s Palate – Drawn to Magic

Throughout your meal, you’ll see black and white character portraits sketched in real-time on the over sized digital canvases lining the dining room walls, making a fun game for your family as you guess which favorite heroes and villains are coming to life. As appetizers arrive, pencil tests of Disney characters are revealed, bringing to life iconic moments — from Disney favorites like “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Princess and the Frog” and more — one canvas at a time. You get your first taste of color during dinner when the character pencil tests around the room are treated to ink and paint.

Animator’s Palate – Drawn to Magic

As dinner winds down and desserts are selected, the grand finale begins, immersing guests in an animated show about a hero’s journey with scenes of Disney and Pixar films on screen, accompanied by dramatic lighting shifts throughout the restaurant. Finally, with the dining room in full color, the celebration comes to life with a fun appearance by Sorcerer Mickey and a parade of your “transformed” wait staff (they, too, get a full dose of color!)

I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse at the fresh take on our beloved dining room and show. Check back later this week for a look at other brand-new dining options on the re-imagined Disney Magic.

Keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog and Disney Cruise Line Facebook page, and follow @DisneyCruise on Twitter for all of the exciting updates about the Disney Magic’s transformation! While you’re on Twitter, join in the conversation by using the hashtag #DisneyMagic.

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